Duties & Responsibilities

Back to homepage

From a misplaced mat to a $170k lawsuit – the danger of breaching duties of care (Australia)

Damages of $171,500 plus costs have been awarded against a Mosman owners corporation for a breach of its duty of care to a resident who tripped on a frayed floor mat Left in a lift for more than a day

Read More

The Business Judgment Rule

Community Association board members frequently ask, “What is the standard we’re held to when we vote and make decisions?” The standard of conduct in Oregon and Washington is colloquially known as the “Business Judgment Rule.” Application of the Business Judgment

Read More

The Truth about HOAs: Low Assessments Can Come at a High Price

Another area of effective governance includes setting realistic budgets and funding the reserves. While no one likes making the unpopular decision of raising the assessments, as a board member you are elected to make the tough decisions to promote, maintain,

Read More

Zika Virus and Your Community Association

Ask the average community association resident whether or not the association board has a duty to protect him or her from foreseeable risk inside the community and the answer is likely to be a resounding “OF COURSE”.  Whether or not

Read More

Does The Business Judgment Rule Protect Directors Who Violate Governing Documents?

In Palm Springs Villas II Homeowners Ass’n, Inc. v. Parth, 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 485 (June 21, 2016), the Court of Appeal considered whether the business judgment rule is available to a director who violates the corporation’s governing documents.  

Read More

Voluntary HOAs and Their Powers

HOAs are a great way for homeowners to come together to create a community they truly desire. However, not all HOAs are mandatory. Voluntary HOAs also exist, and you should learn more about them and their powers.   Read the article…………..

Read More

Ruling Reminds Associations of Significant Consequences Resulting from Failure to Maintain Common Elements

Maintaining the common elements and areas is one of the primary functions and responsibilities of community associations. Last year’s ruling by the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court’s Appellate Division illustrates the potential consequences that may arise in the event an association

Read More

The Business Judgment Rule

Board members often ask us, “What is the standard of conduct for the board of a common interest community?” The standard of conduct is known as the Business Judgment Rule. According to this rule of law, actions taken by directors

Read More

Defalcation and the Hazards of Board Membership – Lessons from the Fifth Circuit (TX)

Do you serve on your condominium’s board as a fun way to meet your neighbors and test out your governance skills? What seems like a low-commitment diversion can balloon into a stressful time suck – or worse. You may be

Read More

Fiduciary Duty and What it Means for Your HOA Board

Just try saying that five times fast. Not only is it a serious mouthful, it also carries serious legal obligations and potential consequences. As board members, your community has entrusted you with the “power” to make decisions on their behalf

Read More

An HOA Board’s Fiduciary Duty: The Key to Avoid Conflicts of Interest

In general terms, fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care imposed under law, and it occurs when one or more persons are responsible for the money or property of another. The fiduciary is expected to be honest, free from

Read More

Is Your Community Association Board Making Sound Decision on Your Behalf?

The directors of Florida community association are obligated to discharge their responsibilities to the community in good faith. Board decisions are generally protected by the “business judgment rule” and the theory behind the business judgment rule is that Courts should

Read More

Duties of the Managing Agents and Liability for Failure to Carry Out Those Duties

A managing agent’s duties to the association can arise out of the common law relationship of an agent to a principal, or by virtue of the contractual relationship between the managing agent and the association, or both. In the same

Read More

Legal Obligations for HOA Board Members

Many HOA Board members don’t fully understand the legal obligations that come with serving their community. You rarely see one document that completely lists all responsibilities. State law may determine some. Governing documents outline others. And other regulations can further

Read More

Do The Right Thing How To Avoid Personal Liability As A Condo Association Director

In Florida, the “officers and directors of the association have a fiduciary relationship to the unit owners.” F.S. §718.111(1)(a)  In its most basic form, a fiduciary duty is an obligation to put the interest of someone else above the self-interest

Read More

What is your Association’s Purpose?

We all know and love our HOAs, but do we really understand an association’s purpose? There are two essential purposes which lie at the heart of every association:   Read the article………..

Read More

Conflicts of Interest Within Your HOA

While it’s easy to forget, an HOA is a business. Like in all businesses, the people with the power (particularly the board members) can develop conflicts of interest, which can devastate the community.  Check out these three questions that can

Read More

Housing Counsel: The Business Judgement Rule

Q: What exactly is the “business judgment rule”? I have a problem with my condominium board, and the condo attorney keeps referring to this as a defense. Can you explain?   Read the article………….

Read More

6 Resolutions Your HOA Board Should Make for a Successful Year

The New Year is here. As an HOA Board, this may be a good time to consider making resolutions that will help to make it a great year for your homeowners association. These commitments don’t have to be profound and

Read More

A Concrete Decision: ‘Qian’ and the Evolution of Sidewalk Liability (NJ)

In the past 20 years, the number of common-interest communities in New Jersey has grown exponentially. Today, we all seem to know someone living in such a community, whether it be an active adult senior community, a condominium building or

Read More

Slip and Fall on the Condominium Premises (MI): Does the Condominium Owe a Statutory Duty to its Co-owners?

What happens if a Co-owner slips and falls on the condominium premises? Does the Co-owner have a right to sue the Association or its property manager for failing to maintain the common areas in reasonable repair? Can the Co-owner recover

Read More

Homeowners Association Boards– Things You Should Know About Fiduciary Responsibility

In the United States, HOAs are plentiful and some communities even have more than one. Some have great difficulty in finding volunteers and homeowners are often put into a position of saying yes just to fill a vacancy for a

Read More

Upholding Your Fiduciary Duty: Transparency is the Best Path for Boards

Being on the board of a co-op or condo is a big responsibility— one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. While some people may run for a board seat just to have the title, they need to be prepared to govern

Read More

Who’s Responsible for Bed Bugs in a Condo in NY, or a Sprinkler Head Flood in a Condo in CA?

What’s worse for an owner in a condominium? The spread of bed bugs? Or flood from a broken sprinkler head?  The spread of bed bugs or termites from one unit to others that can be traced is probably worse. Accidentally

Read More

Board Member Fiduciary Duties

When owners are elected or appointed to the board of directors, it’s critical to understand the importance of fiduciary duties. A fiduciary is a person “to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another.” In homeowner and

Read More

Although Individual Board Members Owed a Fiduciary Duty to Individual Condo Owners, the Corporation Did Not (NY)

Condominiums—Homeowners Associations—Business Judgment Rule—Plaintiff May Assert Claim for Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Punitive Damages Against Individual Members of a Board of Directors, But Not Against the Corporation Itself—Although Individual Board Members Owed a Fiduciary Duty to Individual Condominium Owners,

Read More

Sarasota Judge rules Colony Association must repair units

Sarasota Judge Rochelle Curley agreed with Sheldon and Carol Rabin and entered a final judgment on May 13 ruling that The Colony Association had failed in its fundamental duty to maintain the 237 units at the long-closed resort and that

Read More

Insurance Complexities Create Challenges and Liability Risks for Condo Boards and Managers

“My condo community is insured for full replacement value,” the board’s president announced confidently. “Our manager assures us,” he added, “that we have all coverage we need.” I hear these confident assertions often, and they make me shudder. Many condo

Read More

Do board members owe a duty of care and loyalty to their association?

A community association is a corporation, in many ways similar to any other corporation, be it a for-profit or not-for-profit company. In exercising decisions, for the most part, the community association’s board members must adhere to the “business judgment rule.”

Read More

Case Tests Homeowners’ Associations’ Icy Sidewalk Liability (NJ)

The New Jersey Supreme Court is considering whether homeowners’ associations and their maintenance contractors can be held liable for injuries caused when they fail to clear snow and ice from sidewalks that they own and have pledged to maintain.  

Read More

Colony suit demands repairs (FL)

Another court decision in the Colony saga is pending as the Rabins, who own two beachfront units at the now-closed resort, hope Judge Rochelle Curley agree with their argument that the Association was negligent and must repair their buildings in

Read More

In a Heartbeat – Is an HOA liable if it provides an AED?

It happens in a heartbeat – literally. Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40 in the United States and other countries. Studies have shown, however, that when bystanders intervene and start

Read More

Limit Liability of a Slip and Fall

Winter is a great season for many reasons. The beautiful snow makes a breathtaking landscape and means it’s time to go skiing. However, winter also brings ice, which increases the chance of someone slipping and falling. If someone slips on

Read More

Water Damage Issues Create Liability for Boards Under Breach of Fiduciary Duty Theory

In Schuh v. Plaza Des Plaines Condominium Association, No. 1-13-1999 (Ill.App.Ct. July 24, 2014), an Illinois appeals court affirmed a ruling that a condominium association breached its fiduciary duty to a unit owner by failing to promptly address a water

Read More

Duty of care owed to trespassers on community property

The decision reached in a recent appellate court opinion out of Palm Beach County is instructive in determining the duty owed by property owner to an undiscovered trespasser, a discovered trespasser and an invitee.  Read more………

Read More

Who Is Responsible for Repairing the Condo Balcony Deck?

Fred owns a condominium that has a balcony. The deck of the balcony is a bit old and worn. It has developed cracks such that, if there is rain, the water leaks through. The deck needs to be repaired or,

Read More

Fiduciary Duty: Doing What’s Right for the Community

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you: It’s the golden rule taught to children, but it bears repeating for adults considering board positions with condominium associations.  Anyone in a board position is bound by fiduciary duty,

Read More

The Call of Duty: The Importance of Fiduciary Responsibility

When electing board members to serve on behalf of your community, you expect them to be on their best behavior and to think of the needs of the building and the people who live there when making their decisions. Regardless

Read More

What Does this Thing Called Fiduciary Duty Mean for HOA Board Members?

As a new or current HOA board member you may often hear terms that you’re unfamiliar with. It’s important to ask questions and stay educated when something is unclear, and nothing can be more convoluted than financial jargon.  From time

Read More

Does your condominium, cooperative or HOA board know if and when it is appropriate to grant a hardship exemption?

I am often asked by boards for whom I am rewriting or amending governing documents to include the right to grant hardship exemptions for a variety of use restrictions. Typically, boards want the leeway to grant exceptions when it comes

Read More

Va. Beach jury finds condo association board members guilty of negligence

A Virginia Beach jury has found board members of a local condominium community guilty of neglecting their responsibilities to condo owners.  The two-day trial brought by Sawgrass condo owners against the Sawgrass Association ended Tuesday night. The board members were

Read More

Does your board undertake “Due Diligence”?

Directors are often told they should “do their due diligence” before making certain decisions on behalf of their associations. How many people actually understand what steps are needed to fulfill that directive?   “Due diligence” is defined as an investigation of

Read More

Old Cases Ring True: A Review of Wolinsky v. Kadison and Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims

As boards and managers take in the Palm II opinion and digest its consequences, we want to provide a few case briefs on existing condominium and homeowners cases that describe core legal concepts in the field. One case is Wolinsky

Read More

A Breakdown of Arizona HOA Fiduciary Law

In the HOA management industry, we often run into board members who not only don’t understand a law, but don’t even know it existed in the first place. Sure, most have a basic idea of what they can or can’t

Read More

How to Avoid Common HOA Lawsuits

Lawsuits are an unfortunate and inevitable feature of modern business. That goes for institutions and incorporated entities like HOAs as well. While it’s unlikely that an HOA will be able to avoid all lawsuits entirely, there are steps they can

Read More

Condominium Council (MD) Held In Contempt Of Court For Failing To Make Common Element Repairs

In a case in which my colleague, Jack Boyd, and I represented the unit owner, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City has held a high-rise condominium in contempt of a prior order of the Court to undertake and complete repairs

Read More

All you Need to Know About the HOA Laws

When members of a homeowners associations’ Board of Directors take office, they often aren’t prepared for what their job will require of them—particularly the legal aspects of being a board member. The average board member will most likely be unaware

Read More

Can an Association Approve or Disprove Potential Purchasers and Tenants?

Most board members who serve on community association boards believe that they have an unfettered right to approve or disapprove prospective purchasers and tenants. This is a common misunderstanding.    Read more…….

Read More

“A Man Cannot Serve Two Masters”-Directors and Breach of Fiduciary Duty

This past weekend, I visited my daughter who is a freshman at Washington University in St. Louis. I had asked if I could possibly attend a law school class at some point during my visit since my daughter had her

Read More

Condo-Specific Responsibilities — Board and Owner’s — for Dealing with Bedbugs

In co-ops, as we all know, shareholders are technically lessees governed by proprietary leases. For that reason, residents are covered by the warranty of habitability, which requires owners of rental building, including co-op boards, to maintain the property in a

Read More